Have you thought about becoming a teacher but aren't sure how to get started? If you're committed to public service and changing the way students are educated, AmeriCorps' Inspired Teacher Certification Program just might be for you!
Inspired Teacher Certification Program
AmeriCorps is a public service program whose goal is to make America better by having its members work in health care, public safety, environmental protection, and education as agents of change. With this philosophy, AmeriCorps developed their Inspired Teacher Certification Program for those who are passionate about education and want to make a difference in the classroom.
The Center for Inspired Teaching, founded in Washington D.C. in 1995, defines ''inspired teaching'' as ''shifting the role of the teacher through transformative teacher training, building a future in which children are not taught what to think, but how to think.'' So how does AmeriCorps accomplish this goal? By taking on Inspired Teaching fellows for two years and providing new teacher training, graduate-level pedagogical courses, a one-year teaching residency, and extensive classroom support in order to produce top-notch educators.
Inspired Teaching Fellows
The Center for Inspired Teaching takes pride in its fellows and wants them ultimately to become successful teachers and changemakers. Of all their program graduates, 93% continue to work in the field of education, with 75% working in public or charter schools in the Washington D.C. area.
The center's residency model provides new teachers with a strong foundation for learning and implementing teaching practices, while also providing essential support every step of the way. According to the National Center for Teacher Residencies, 84% of teachers trained in a residency program are still teaching after three years.
Having a committed mentor is also valuable to fellows. In 2015, the ''Washington Post'' reported that after three years of teaching, 86% of new teachers who had a mentor were still teaching as opposed to 71% who didn't have a mentor.
Benefits of Becoming a Fellow
The Inspired Teaching Certification program has numerous benefits for its fellows that enroll in and complete the intensive program. Here are just a few:
- You will walk away with a Washington D.C. teaching certificate in one of three areas: early childhood, elementary, or elementary inclusive education.
- You will earn a Master's of Arts in Teaching from Trinity Washington University.
- Your one-year teaching residency will allow you to put what you learn during training and coursework into immediate practice.
- You will have a classroom mentor who will help you through your teaching residency by offering coaching, feedback, and most importantly, support.
- You will be a full-time AmeriCorps member, which includes benefits like a living allowance, health care, childcare, student loan deferment, and a financial education award.
How to Become an Inspired Teaching Fellow
While the application period for 2017 is now closed, it's never too early to start planning for next year. If you're interested in becoming an Inspired Teaching Fellow, it's important to know what AmeriCorps is looking for in their applicants and future teachers:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status.
- You must have a bachelor's degree and at least a 3.0 GPA if you graduated within the previous five years. If you've been out of college for over five years, your GPA needs to be at least 2.75.
- You must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators and Praxis II: Content Area Knowledge tests before you begin your residency year. Need help with the Praxis? Check out Study.com's The Best Way to Study for Your Praxis Test.
The application process starts by filling out the online application. You will provide your basic information along with your resume and answers to three out of five questions, two written essays and one two-minute video submission.
If you complete this first step, you will then have a telephone interview, during which you can discuss your application and ask any questions you may have about the program. From here, you might be chosen for Selection Day, which includes an in-person interview and a five-minute sample lesson demonstration, as well as a group activity and a problem-solving activity.
After Selection Day, leaders from the partner schools where you may be completing your residency might also interview you. These interviews are designed to make sure you will not only be a successful teacher but also a good fit for the school.
If everything has gone well, you might be one of the lucky ones offered admission into the program!
Just remember, the Inspired Teacher Certification Program is competitive. In a 2014 article published on Republic 3.0, the former director of teaching certification stated that the program's admission rate is about 15%. Don't let that discourage you, though! The Inspired Teaching Fellow rate is still better than Harvard's Fall 2015 6% acceptance rate.
Think you've got what it takes to be an Inspired Teaching Fellow through AmeriCorps? Check out the Inspired Teaching website for more information and get ready to apply for 2018!